Challenges of the implementation of strategic plan at Tana and Athi rivers development authority, Kenya
Strategic Management has been globally embraced as the panacea for organizations struggling to succeed in their missions‟ in the complex, turbulent, uncertain, and competitive global business arena of modern times. However research has confirmed that many organizations are unable to successfully implement their strategic plans with the consequence that the panacea has too often failed to deliver its promised results. Many organizations face significant difficulties with regards to strategy implementation process resulting in most strategies failing to produce superior performance for the firm. The purpose of the study was to determine the challenges of strategy implementation in Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority, Kenya. The specific objectives were to find out if leadership; organizational structure, culture, measurement and reward system; resources mobilization, and budgetary estimates and allocation system were impediments to strategy execution. The study adopted a case study design. The research targeted the top, middle level, and line managers; and senior staff. 20 respondents were interrogated using both a self administered questionnaire and indepth interview. The data was analyzed using content analysis. The study established that the institution‟s planning process is not effectively participatory. That planning and implementation are treated as two independent functions. Inadequate funding and untimely disbursement of funds from exchequer was a hindrance to the effective implementation of strategy. The research also established that lack of resources mobilization strategy linked to strategic plan was the biggest killer of strategy since the organization‟s strategic plan execution budget exceeded the average Exchequer allocation by over 50 times. Lack of top management commitment to strategic plan, ineffective leadership for strategy execution, ineffective organizational culture and structure, and non-functional reward and motivation policies and procedures were all identified as key impediments to the implementation of strategy. The study established that mobilization of enough funds through the organization‟s own initiatives is very critical to finance huge budgetary gaps between strategic plan execution budget and normal allocation from treasury. Timely distribution of resources allocated by treasury would also greatly enhance implementation of strategic plan. Most respondents recommended that top managements‟ commitment to the organization‟s strategic plan would minimize the strategy implementation challenges. The study recommended that first, the institution develop an inspiring, commonly shared vision. Top management own up the vision and grow it to become the institutional driving force. She must develop an integrated, dynamic and participatory planning and implementation process. Treasury should ensure that there is timely distribution of resources to enhance timely implementation of projects in the organization. It is imperative that the Government of Kenya give definite mandates to its agencies, end duplication of mandate, and demand results, responsibility and accountability from their management. The findings and recommendation of this research may be used by the government of Kenya to improve financing levels and/or effect timely disbursement of funds to her agencies. Top management in Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority may adopt the findings and recommendations to improve the organizational leadership, the organization‟s planning and implementation processes, structure, and culture thus enhancing her strategic management and consequently conquering strategy implementation challenges. Other public corporations may use the results to enhance the implementation of strategic management in their respective corporations. The study has highlighted gaps which other researchers may use to carry out further research in the areas of strategic management.